Guatemalan presidential election heads to runoff

Early results show that Guatemalans will have runoff presidential election

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Electoral workers count votes at a polling station in Guatemala City, September 6, 2015.

A TV comedian, Jimmy Morales, a businessman and politician Manuel Baldizon, and ex-first lady Sandra Torres is leading the presidential elections in Guatemala  after the former president resigned over corruption allegations. Polls closed in early on Sunday evening.

Although Morales has been the leading among three, simple majority is required to be elected as the next president of Guatemala.

Most recent poll results indicate that none of the candidates will be able to sustain a majority vote.  Therefore the election appears to be heading to run-off, where top finishers will run again.

With almost 80 percent of of the votes counted early on Monday, comedian Jimmy Morales, is leading the field with 26 percent of the vote.

Businessman and longtime politician Manuel Baldizon comes in second with 18.5 percent, and ex-first lady Sandra Torres, comes third with 17.7 percent.

Meanwhile, former president Otto Perez Molina is in court custody awaiting a decision on whether he will be tried on corruption charges pressed against him.

This election includes voting for vice president, members of Congress and the Central American Parliament, and nationwide local authorities for municipalities.

Morales, 46, brought forward his outsider status to his advantage in the presidential run. He promised he will fight for greater transparency in the government and media.

Baldizon’s campaign revolves around reforming the government and fighting poverty and social inequality.

Despite Baldizon’s claims that he acknowledges Guatemalans' disgust with corruption and impunity, he did not comply with legal procedures on electoral costs. At the same time, Baldizon’s vice president candidate is accused of influence trafficking, however he has immunity from prosecution.

Torres, 59, who divorced former President Alvaro Colom ahead of the last presidential race to be eligible to run, is proposing a coalition government to respond to the concerns of the citizens.

While poll results are being counted, tens of thousands of citizens had joined protests asking for the vote to be postponed because of the dissatisfaction on the candidates run in the elections.


TRTWorld and agencies